The police in Rajasthan’s Alwar district on Friday withdrew an order directing nine Muslim personnel to shave their beards, PTI reported. The original order, issued on Thursday, said the policemen were asked to shave so that they acted and “looked unbiased”.

Alwar Superintendent of Police Anil Paris Deshmukh rescinded his own order on Friday after the officers concerned raised objections. “Policemen should not only work in an unbiased manner but they should also look unbiased,” he had told reporters on Thursday. “There is a provision of the state government which allows the head of the department to permit policemen to keep beards.”

The order stated that in the past, 32 police officials were permitted to keep their beards. Deshmukh had said the move could be reconsidered if those who were not satisfied approached the police department.

While withdrawing the order on Friday, the superintendent said the administrative order was taken back after representation from the policemen. “They are all permitted to have beards now,” he said, according to NDTV.

The matter of police officers keeping beards has raked controversies in the past. In 2016, a police official in Kochi had moved the Kerala High Court after being refused permission to keep a beard during Ramzan, the holy month. The police officer, K Riyas, had then said that denying him permission was a violation of Article 25 (freedom of religion) of the Constitution.

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